Late in 2016, I had the opportunity to go to Colombia for my birthday. While Medellin was amazing, a little town about an hour and a half east of there called Guatape stole the show. It was an amazing little resort town situated on a huge man-made lake. The weekend we were there, it seemed that it was mostly Colombian tourists, which was very cool and different for me.
We started our adventure that day by heading out paragliding above Cocorna, then went to El Penol to hike the huge monolith there. However, for me anyway, the highlight by far, was the trip to one of Pablo Escobar’s vacation homes. It’s completely burned, overgrown and bombed out and they even play paintball there now, but it was a completely surreal experience.
There was an energy there that was undeniable. It was like you could feel his presence and only imagine what it was actually like in its heyday. Pablo was certainly a murderous drug dealer, but he is an indelible part of Colombian history. From the pool and bbq area, to the horse stable and soccer field, to the main home and garage , you could almost see and hear all the things that happened. For me, it was like going to the Colosseum in Rome, only this history was less than 30 years ago, not 2000.
Here are the images I shot that day. Enjoy!
Many years ago, when I lived in Beaver Creek, Colorado, I met a man named Tim Linhart. He had a special skill to be able to mold intricate sculptures out of ice and snow. Tim is a bit eccentric to say the least, but a phenomenal artist and a man with vision. During that time in Beaver Creek he was hired by the Grand Hyatt, over the course of several seasons, to build some amazingly detailed ice sculptures. At some point he thought to himself, “I wonder if I can make a musical instrument out of ice and actually play it”. The first time he built a guitar and tried to strum it, it exploded. He continued to perfect the craft and eventually did a concert on top of the mountain. Fast forward 20 years to Lulea, Sweden. Through the course of working on the Ice Hotel and various other projects, he continued to refine his art. This is a man with passion!
Some photographer friends were working working on a personal project called “Buck the Cubicle” and I mentioned Tim. They both immediately said, “I have miles, let’s go to Sweden” and we were off! We spent a few days with Tim, his wife Birgitta and son Frost (very appropriate) in Lulea and witnessed something truly incredible. Not only did he create the instruments that sounded amazing in the hands of skilled musicians, but he also built a dual-domed igloo for them to play in. I have linked the video that P2 Photography did and here are my shots of this crazy experience, called Ice Music. I enjoyed being a part of something that has now melted and gone back to the earth. Next year, he’ll do it all over again from scratch.
Once the Sweden portion of the Ice Hotel trip was completed, I decided that if I’m that close, I can’t skip Estonia or Finland. I flew from Lulea to Tallinn on surprisingly shortly, easy flights and caught the city bus into Old Town. As anyone who knows my work can see, I really enjoy the dusk time of day, so most of my images from Tallinn were shot either at dusk or dawn. Because there were so many narrow winding cobblestone streets and I only had three days, I had to take advantage of dawn as well to walk the streets. The entire city has a completely different feel in the morning, but equally beautiful and amazing. Tallinn, Estonia is like taking a trip back in time and something out of a fairy tail. It’s definitely one of the best places I’ve ever been and would certainly go back anytime!
I love when opportunities sort of drop in your lap. I was having a beer with a few photo friends when the subject of personal projects came up. My colleagues are working on theirs called “Buck the Cubicle“, but more on that later. I mentioned an old friend from my Colorado days that makes musical instruments from ice in Lulea, Sweden. Within a few minutes, we were all on board to make the trip. I decided that if I’m going that far away, I had to check the Ice Hotel off my list and finally go see it. While the task of getting there was not easy, sitting 200km north of the Arctic Circle, it was entirely worth it upon arrival. The fact that it’s truly an architectural marvel is one thing, but the shear logistics in actually pulling off this trip and gaining access to this amazing hotel was another thing altogether. Having the opportunity to photograph the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden was an absolute dream come true and a trip that I would highly recommend to anyone with the spirit of adventure.